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Radio and TV advertising costs and tips to get your brand out there

5-minute read

TV production set with green screen
Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith

24 July 2023

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Struggling to reach new customers and thinking about joining the innovative entrepreneurs advertising on TV and radio? It could be your next big break. Local advertising can be one of the most engaging and lucrative ways to promote your small business.

If you thought TV and radio ads are reserved for big budgets and big companies – think again. The ability to be highly targeted with your TV and radio ads can be effective for small businesses and drive brand awareness.

And with one in four small businesses (26 per cent) citing that finding and retaining customers is one of their biggest challenges, it’s never been more important to diversify your advertising strategy.

Here we explore how to start advertising on radio and TV.

Looking for a more general guide? Check out our expert guide to marketing your small business.

TV advertising costs – how much should you spend?

How much is TV advertising? And is it worth parting with your hard earned cash?

Aside from the excitement that your brand could appear in living rooms across the country, there are some tangible benefits to TV ads.

Before getting carried away, ask yourself these questions:

  • do you have a clear brand identity?
  • have you got budget to create an ad and then run a campaign?
  • is your marketing strategy clear and do you understand the audience you’re trying to reach?
  • how are you going to measure results?

You’ll need to budget for two areas in TV advertising: the creative production and the media buying of advert spots between TV shows.

TV ad slots can cost anything from £0 to £5,000, but many broadcasters have a minimum spend of £15,000.

That’s because the cost of a TV ad campaign depends on many factors. How many slots you book, time of day, network, and the type of programmes the ad appears in can all affect the price you pay.

For example, an ad shown at 7.45pm during a Premier League football match is likely to cost more than if it appears during a repeat of Come Dine With Me on Tuesday at 2pm. Choose a programme and time slot that’s likely to match up to when your target audience is watching TV for greater success.

Factors that impact TV advertising costs – a quick summary

  • seasonality – some months are cheaper than others when it comes to advertising slots
  • length of your advert – the average is 30 seconds but a shorter advert can mean cheaper rates
  • network – the broadcaster you advertise on affects the price. For example, Channel 5 is much cheaper than ITV
  • time of day – daytime is usually cheaper than peak evening slots
  • how many ad slots you book – you pay a price for each instance shown across a set time period, and could book a number of ‘bursts’ across a few months with breaks in between
  • local vs national TV advertising – some areas in the UK have their own Freeview channel where you could advertise more cheaply

TV agency,, gives an overview of advert prices based on peak and daytime slots on different channels.

Advertising on TV typically needs higher investment than other options, so might be more suited to bigger and growing businesses rather than micro businesses.

Local TV advertising for small businesses

You might find that local TV channels offer more affordable TV advertising packages. But bear in mind that the reach and impact will be limited.

For example, Latest TV is a local channel for Brighton and the surrounding area. The channel offers advertising opportunities for local businesses as well as a TV production crew that can support with creating your ad.

Have you got a local TV station for your area? Check the local TV list on Freeview.

Advantages of TV advertising

  • opportunity to reach a wide audience with a single advert
  • engaged viewers from a range of backgrounds
  • build a visual story and tap into viewers’ emotions
  • show your personality and build brand awareness

Disadvantages of TV advertising

  • can be expensive to create TV ads and book spaces
  • engagement can vary – people often switch channels or scroll on their phones during ad breaks
  • tricky to track direct results of campaigns
  • rise of streaming services is taking people away from broadcast TV

TV advertising agencies can help you get started

It’s worth getting several advertising agencies to pitch to you so you can compare prices. Many offer different packages depending on how much you want to spend and whether you need support producing the ad.

Here’s a few you could try:

Make sure you check pricing structures, portfolio and previous work, and reviews to help you decide on the best agency for you.

You'll also want to be clear on how you're going to use storytelling to communicate your ad

An alternative to TV is radio advertising…

Radio advertising costs

Depending on your business you might choose to run local, regional, or national radio ads across a range of stations to promote your product or services.

Radio advertising can work particularly well for service and trades businesses as you can target your local area, reach a wide audience, and build trust in your services. If you’re a plumber, window cleaner, or a gardener, it could be worth exploring.

The cost of radio advertising production can be around £2,000. You’ll usually need to pay for a studio recording, voiceover artist, and a licence to use any music.

When it comes to the cost of specific advert slots, it depends on the station you’re advertising on. Local stations can cost about £500 for one ad while national stations can cost thousands.

Radio advertising advantages

  • targeted to a local area where your business operates
  • cheaper to create than TV ads
  • flexible scheduling and ability to reach a wide audience

Disadvantages of radio advertising

  • no visuals mean it can be hard to connect listeners with your brand
  • limited attention from listeners – they’re usually doing something else so distracted from your ad
  • you’ll need to buy slots across a mix of stations to get enough reach

How to find a radio advertising agency

Radio advertising agencies help with producing your ad and booking your radio slots with broadcasters. It’s often offered as a package so you know up front how much you’ll pay for each campaign.

A quick Google search can bring up plenty of options. As with TV, it’s worth getting quotes from several so you can compare prices.

Two smiling men recording radio advert
Photograph: Jacob Lund/

More audio advertising avenues

With digital streaming, there are more options to advertise than just TV and radio. It all comes down to where your potential customers are listening. Advertising in cinemas, music streaming platforms or during podcasts, and even through on demand TV ads like Amazon Prime Video could be worth exploring.

There's also a trend towards advertising on YouTube as an alternative to TV advertising thanks to the easier targeting and younger age demographic.

Beyond radio and TV

While not strictly advertising, you could also consider trying your hand at PR (public relations) and sharing your small business news with local media.

Digital marketing can be cheaper and reach a wider audience than traditional marketing methods like billboard advertising. For example, paid advertising and UGC (user generated content) social campaigns give you the opportunity to test and learn what’s working and target specific audiences more easily with your adverts.

You'll need a business Facebook page if you want to try paid advertising on social.

Free marketing resources to boost your brand

Have you tried radio or TV advertising for your small business? Let us know your experience in the comments below.

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Photograph: Oka/
Catriona Smith

Written by

Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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